Why should operators use SDN and NFV, How does this improve end user experience and Why is this a must have for 5G?

LTE Quality of service has been critical for the deployment of 4G based services. There are users who want to avail its basic services such as voice calls, banking transaction, etc, and there are users who want to avail the premium services such as high-speed internet downloads and streaming services.

By deploying NFV and SDN, the network operators are not supposed to use high cost proprietary hardware to provide chain of network. Also, cost reduction is very much important when we keep moving from one generation to another generation of technology advancement which utilizes minimum network bandwidth and boost latency.

This has made operators realise the demands for low cost and reliable connections. This can be only be overcome if we can break through the QoS limitations of the existing networking. After several failed attempts, SDN has emerged as a paradigm shift to provide the best user experience.

Using NFV and SDN makes the entire network modular and agile. SDN and NFV can deliver a consistent, reliable and high-quality experience to all users, which has a significant impact on the user experience and in turn, helps retain customers.

The world has seen a ton of innovation in the devices we use to access networks, the applications we use, the services we rely on in our daily lives, and the computing and storage solutions we use for “big data”. Software-defined network (SDN) and Network functions virtualization (NFV) provide us with new and robust ways to design and build networks.

SDN enables networks to be centrally controlled through software applications that use open APIs. NFV separates the network functions from the hardware components, so they can run in software. It virtualizes entire classes of function into smaller and modular building blocks that may be connected or chained together to create new services. SDN and NFV have become an attractive option for integrators and value-added resellers (VARs) that need strategies for network virtualization and network programmability.

What is NFV in Telecom and Why use NFV?

NFV is the attempt to virtualize network services that run traditionally on proprietary and dedicated hardware. NFV allows network functions like routing, firewalls, and load balancing to be packaged as virtual machines on any commodity hardware.

The two main aspects of NFV in telecommunications are service chaining and orchestration. In service chaining, multiple NFVs are chained together to build a more complex service. The orchestration layer is responsible for the complex tasks of instantiating NFV instances, monitor them, and repair them.

As NFV enables the virtualization of the network functions and elimination of proprietary hardware, network engineers can add, move or change the network functions at the server level in a very simplified process. While NFV can benefit enterprises, the service providers have more apparent use cases for it. For example, when a user requests a new functionality, NFV enables service providers to add the service in the form of a virtual machine without the need for upgrading hardware on the user end.

Some of the basic NFV benefits also include a decrease in power consumption and an increase in physical space, since NFV eliminates most proprietary and traditional hardware appliances. Subsequently, NFV helps reduce both operational and capital costs.



  • Software-defined networking (SDN) is an architecture model that allows networks to be more agile and a lot more flexible. The essential purpose of SDN is to improve network control by enabling enterprises and service providers to respond quickly to changing business requirements. In a SDN, an administrator can control the network traffic from a centralized control console without the need to physically interact with individual switches in the network. Its main advantages are the centralized global network view, programmability, and separation of the data plane and control plane.

  • NFV and SDN are highly complementary. NFV and SDN are mutually beneficial but are not necessarily dependent on each other. NFV and SDN aim to virtualize a large variety of network elements. These include:

    • Evolved Packet Core

    • IP Multimedia System

    • Routers

    • Security devices (firewalls, IDS/IPS, SSL VPNs)

    • Customer Premise Equipment (CPE)

  • Both NFV and SDN capitalize and rely heavily on virtualization of the network to enable their respective capabilities — and to deliver the functionality to distinguish connections and packet handling from overall network control (SDN) while combining and consolidating specialized and modular functions and capabilities on standard hardware elements (NFV). It helps in integrating the network components which are independent of hardware (virtual compute, storage and network functions).

  • nfv and sdn
  • The use of NFV and SDN have a number of advantages for both the service providers and users:

    • NFV and SDN reduce time-to-market and also reduce the time required to deploy new network services

    • NFV and SDN improve return on investments from the new services

    • NFV and SDN enable greater flexibility to scale up, scale down or evolve the services provided

    • NFV and SDN facilitate openness to the virtual appliance market and pure software entrants

    • NFV and SDN provide opportunities for the trial and deployment of new innovative services at a lower risk

  • These combined advantages of NFV and SDN are the driving forces that are transforming the networking and telecommunication industry. SDN and NFV have attracted a large number of investments, including the following:

    • SDN and NFV initiatives from some largest networking equipment producers -- including Ericsson, Cisco, Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent, and Juniper Networks

    • NFV initiatives from the leading IT suppliers, including HP, Dell, Intel, Oracle, and Red Hat

  • In the latest 5G deployments, Implementation of NFV and SDN plays an important role in the commercialization of 5G wireless communication. Some of it’s advantages are:

    • The major advantage of implementing these technologies in 5G is to provide the user requested network functions automatically.

    • 5G deployment provides the virtualization of multiple appliances in the network. It allows various virtual networks to run on top of single physical infrastructure.

    • NFV divides a physical network into various virtual networks capable of supporting multiple RANs.

    • The main purpose of NFV is to help control plane to manage the flow of network behaviour through Application Programming Interface (APIs).

    • With the control Plane architecture, the network administrator can provide services through network interfaces even if the hardware components are connected. Overall SDN helps the 5G technology to improve its performance by allowing the better data flows across the control plane.